US has six B-21 stealth bombers, digital progress has been made
WASHINGTON — The US Air Force currently has five B-21 Raider stealth bombers built, with the production of the sixth already underway. All six are part of the Engineering and Manufacturing Development [EMD] program, which means. This means that the sixth bomber may be the last to complete the program and move on to the next stage – mass production.
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The Drive says the construction of the sixth bomber is at a software stage designed to support the aircraft’s fuel system and has already been validated in a digital environment. The US Air Force expects the stealth bomber to make its first flights and a series of tests, both on the ground and in the air, by the end of this year. After that, the deployment of the aircraft will take place quickly in the US Air Force.
“The rollout will probably be some time this year,” Air Force May. Gen. Jason R. Armagost, Director of Strategic Plans, Programs, and Requirements at Air Force Global Strike Command [AFGSC] said. “I’m not at liberty to give the likely date of that, but [it will be] quickly followed by first flight.”
All five bombers are currently located at Northrop Grumman’s production facilities at Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale, California. May. Gen. Jason R. Armagost expects the B-21 Raider to change the rules of the game and become a deep penetrating bomber in the opponent’s denial zone. This aircraft has a double capacity, as it can carry nuclear and conventional weapons, says Armagost.
Confirmed about the B-21 Raider
According to the plans of the Pentagon and the US Air Force, 145 stealth bombers B-21 Raider should be built and acquired. Currently, all six prototypes are at different stages of production or finishing.
Armagost says Northrop Grumman has used work and engineering breakthroughs on other hidden projects that are also under development.
“One of the things that I’m most excited about is the requirements for new systems that haven’t even flown yet. The fact that there’s a modernization effort built into those already, right?” he said. “So in the B-21, for example, there are technologies that are explored that we can risk-reduce through other platforms, potentially, and integrate ahead of the aircraft even flying. And so it’s kind of an exciting way to get back to that models-based systems engineering [that] has kind of opened up some possibilities on sustainment, interacting with the environment in ways that are useful to future systems.”
Armagost confirmed that a “digital revolution” [progress] had been made during the production of all six bombers. This progress is related to systems engineering models, open mission systems architecture software. The general cited the fuel control system as an example.
“As an example, the software for the fuel control system, which is a pretty complex thing, is completely done on an aircraft that hasn’t even flown yet as a test article, because of how we’re able to do model-based systems engineering. And they built a fuel systems model and tested the software, and the software is ready to go.”
The promising B-21 bomber will not only be able to “drop bombs on the enemy”, but also become a kind of base for several drones and control them during difficult missions. This was stated in an interview with Bloomberg by US Secretary of State Frank Kendall last November.
It is noted that the “new features” for the future bomber are partly related to justifying the emergence of a significant number of these aircraft in American aircraft and the significant funding for this program. At the same time, it is argued that the use of the B-21 as a “command post” for UAVs should be “a new way to cause the enemy a headache.”
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